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How To Reheat A Meatball Sub

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Meatballs subs are as delicious as they are filling. While many people can easily eat an entire meatball sub in one sitting, some might want to save it for later. This is where proper storage and heating methods come in! 

How to reheat a meatball sub? There are many methods to heat a meatball sub. The best method is to wrap the leftovers in foil and then steadily heat them in the oven. You can also heat the sub in the microwave using a few clever strategies too!

Read below to learn more about properly storing meatball subs and the best method for reheating them in different situations!

How Long Do Meatball Subs Last?

A meatball sub contains many ingredients, and while these ingredients provide its signature flavor, almost all of them work against the sub in terms of storage!

With ingredients like sauces, mayo, meat, and bread, the humble meatball sub is equivalent to a bacterial timebomb that is just waiting to detonate under the right conditions.

Meatball subs can survive a few days in the fridge but they are best consumed within 24-48 hours. The longer you leave the meatball sub in the fridge, the more it will oxidize and depreciate. 

Meatball subs are generally regarded as a high-risk food that may start to go bad within 3-4 hours of assembling the sandwich

Of course, the individual ingredients will be able to survive much longer, it is only when everything is mixed that the sub becomes a high-risk food. 

Not only this, but when exposed to citrus or acid based-sauces, the other ingredients in the sub, like the bread and vegetables may start to lose their texture and flavor fairly quickly as well. 

This is why it is highly recommended that you store leftover meatball subs in the fridge as soon as possible. Preferably within the hour!

How does one deal with such a high-risk food? Well, you employ a few great storage best practices and techniques!

Storing Meatball Subs

Compared to other types of sandwiches, storing a meatball sub is extremely easy because of its elongated shape!

Meatball subs can be wrapped in foil and or be kept in airtight containers or bags. Perhaps the best way to store them for the short term is to keep them in the fridge at 40°F.

The sub will remain fresh for about 2-3 days using this method!

To properly cover them, place the meatball sub or the leftovers on a clean aluminum foil. Then fold in the ends and start to roll the foil with the sub. Make sure that you grip the sub tightly or it might not seal properly!

A tightly-sealed single or double layer of foil should be more than enough to keep all the ingredients together and to protect the sub from environmental factors. 

Once the sub is wrapped, simply place it in an airtight container and then store the container in the coldest part of the fridge.

Make sure that the fridge is running at a stable 40°F during the entire storage period. Keep the sub away from the fridge door to avoid any temperature discrepancies. 

Typically, a meatball sub should be kept in the fridge for about 2-3 days but it can also last up to 3-4 days as well. However, for the best flavor and freshness, we recommend that you consume the sub within 48 hours. 

Freezing Meatball Subs

Meatball subs can be frozen using the same storage method too! After 2-3 days in the fridge, move the airtight container with the wrapped meatball sub to the freezer. 

Store the sub at 0°F for about 2-3 months. For the best results, we recommend that you directly freeze the sub instead of storing it in the fridge first. This is especially important if you plan on storing the sandwich for the long term!

Keep in mind that some ingredients in the sub may not be suitable for freezers. For example, some creamy sauces or cheese may not freeze well, even in the right storage conditions. 

However, at the same time, freezing a simple-ingredient meatball sub is perhaps the best way to preserve its flavor and texture for the long term.

Remember, you are dealing with meat and sauces here! The best practice for such foods is to directly store them at 0°F for at most 3 months.

Thawing And Heating Meatball Subs

Once stored, meatballs subs can easily be reheated using the following methods:

Oven Method

The oven method is by far the best way to reheat a meatball sub as it requires no additional effort or forethought.

All you need to do is thaw the meatball sub in the fridge overnight and then place the foil-wrapped sub in the oven at 350°F for 10-12 minutes

Why is this method preferred? Well, because the foil method will ensure that the sub and its ingredients remain in place. Remember, frozen sandwiches can be difficult to handle which is why you should leave the sub undisturbed!

The foil will protect the sub from direct heat, meaning that it will not lose moisture and become overly dry.

While you can remove the foil from the sub before heating it in the oven, this method may result in the sub only getting superficially warm. 

If you do not prefer using the same foil that you used to freeze the sub, then carefully unwrap it and then re-wrap it in a fresh piece of foil before adding it to the oven.

Remember, the bread is the first (and the quickest) ingredient to heat up so it would be wise if you kept the sub in the foil while in the oven.

This way, the heat will dissipate evenly around the sub and all of the ingredients will heat up more or less equally.

Keep in mind that the sub may be slightly softer or soggy while heating it using the foil and oven method. 

To counter this issue, simply remove the sandwich from the foil after the 8-minute mark and then heat the sub under direct heat for 3-4 minutes or until sufficiently warm.

Microwave Method

The microwave method is another great and quick way to heat a meatball sub! 

Of course, with this method, you will have to first thaw the meatball sub in the fridge overnight and then place it in the microwave without the foil. 

Carefully remove the foil from the thawed sub (make sure that you keep the ingredients intact).

Now, put the sub on a microwave-safe plate and heat it at the highest setting for about 20-30 seconds. Start with shorter time intervals to see how the sub is heating. 

Add 10-15 seconds until the meatball sub is adequately warm. Remember, the idea here is to NOT heat the sub until it is steaming. Rather you should aim to just warm it up

Also, the top bun is probably going to heat up quicker. To fix this, you can either open the sub or remove the top side bread for better coverage. Once heated, take the sub out and let it rest for at least 2-3 minutes

The resting time will allow the sub to reincorporate some of the oils that were released by the ingredients, like from the mayo and the meatballs. 

Another way to heat the meatball sub is to heat the sandwich in multiple stages. For example, you can heat the meatballs and sauce separately and then combine them with the rest of the warmed-up sandwich later. 

This method may seem tedious but is very efficient in heating the sandwich without detracting from its quality!

Remember, the buns will heat up in a fraction of the time it will take the meatballs to warm up so it might be better if you heat both parts individually and then reassemble them.

Related Questions

If stored the right way, meatball subs can taste as fresh as the day you made them! Now that you know how to store and reheat meatball subs, here are some related questions!

Can meatball subs go bad in the fridge?

Yes, meatball subs can go bad within the week! They can spoil even earlier if they are not stored properly. A clear sign of spoilage is when the meatball sub becomes too watery, develops a foul odor, or has visible signs of mold.

Also, sometimes the sub may not look spoiled but may still be compromised. This is why we recommend that you thoroughly check the meatballs and the ingredients individually.

Can you heat the meatball sub over the stove?

While not ideal, meatball subs can be heated over the stove as well. To properly heat it, place the foil-wrapped sandwich over a cast iron pan and heat it over medium-low heat

Add a bit of water to the pan to create steam and then cover the top. You could also individually heat the meatballs with the sauce and the buns over the pan too! 

Can you refreeze a thawed meatball sub?

No. Once the meatball sub has been thawed and heated, it should be consumed within the same day. There is no point in refreezing the sub again as it would greatly affect its freshness, quality, and flavor. 

Refreezing it may also compromise the meatball sub and make it even more susceptible to bacterial growth as well. 

If you’re interested in making your own meatball subs at home, here’s a great video covering how to make this amazing dish from chef Joshua Weissman!

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